European investment company PPF Group was said to be exploring an acquisition of four of Telenor’s businesses in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Danas reported.
Telenor announced it received an unsolicited approach for its business units in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia in late January. At the time, the Norway-headquartered company said it would assess the offer by the end of Q1.
The identity of the party and potential price were not disclosed. Earlier reports had floated US investment company KKR – which was linked with Telenor’s Serbia unit in June 2017 – as the potential buyer.
Now, it looks like PPF Group, which has offices in Prague and Amsterdam among other cities, may be the potential bidder. The company owns telecoms infrastructure company Cetin and holds a 66 per cent stake in Telefonica’s Czech operations, which it acquired in 2013 for €2.47 billion.
However, no party has made any official comment.
Although the offer made to Telenor was unsolicited, divestment of the assets would fit with a fundraising and cost-cutting strategy being implemented by CEO Sigve Brekke in a bid to return it to being “a growth company”.
Telenor is the second-largest operator by connections in Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, where GSMA Intelligence estimates it counted between 3 million and 3.5 million connections at end Q4 2017.
It is the largest operator in Montenegro with 376,000 connections.